Get More from Google Plus: Tips, Tricks, and Extensions for Your Local Business

Google+

Now that you’ve created and begun to optimize your local business’ Google Plus Page, how can you use this social media platform to share your content with even more customers and prospects? With a few tricks, shortcuts, and extensions, you can get the most out of your Google Plus business page. Here are 12 tips we’ve found that will help you optimize every aspect of your Google Plus page.

Profile/Page

1. Optimize your Business Profile for SEO. Make sure you are using target keywords in your business description. And, don’t forget to write a short, one-line description that appears under your name in your profile. This is essentially your page’s meta description and appears whenever someone mouses over your business name in their Google Plus feed.

2. Do Something Creative With your Photos. Because the images on your Google Plus Page are static, you can use them to do some creative marketing for your local business. For instance, you can take a page from big brands like Pepsi and Chevrolet, which have created multi-image panoramic scenes, or Fox News, which uses its Google Plus profile to showcase its anchors. Plus, you can change your profile images out as frequently as you like to keep your page fresh.

3. Create a Vanity URL for Your Marketing Materials. Your Google Plus page URL is a bit long and difficult to remember with all those random numbers. You can head over to Gplus.to to create a shortened vanity URL for your page that you can use on marketing materials like postcards and emails. Not only does a shortened link with your business name look more professional, but it’s also easy for customers and prospects to remember.

Posts

4.  Edit or Add to an Existing Post. One advantage to Google Plus that you don’t get on Facebook or Twitter is the ability to edit a post that you’ve already shared. Accidentally misspell a word or include the wrong stat?No problem – you can easily fix it with the “Edit” option on the right side of your post.This is also a great feature if you want to add additional content to an existing post. Then, once you save your changes, they will automatically show up on your original post that you’ve shared with your circles.

5.  Share a Post via Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, & Other Social Sites. Google Plus does not natively include a way to share your posts directly to your other social media pages. But if you use Google Chrome as your browser, you can download an extension called Extend Share that lets you share posts from Google Plus to your Facebook, Twitter, and other social accounts, right from your feed. Once the extension is downloaded, you’ll see a “Share on” link below every post with your selected options. Make sure to keep your audience in mind before you cross-post and ask yourself if the type of content you’re posting makes sense to share on different platforms. For example, you might share a long entry you wrote on Google+ with your Twitter or Facebook community, but if you’re sharing a link to an article or resource, you can just share that natively to each site.

6. Add Basic Formatting to your Posts. Do your Google Plus posts look a little bland? You can jazz them up with a little bit of basic formatting. With just a few keystrokes, you can add bolding, italics, and strikethrough to your Google Plus posts: use the format *text* to bold, _text_ to italicize, and –text- to strike through a word or phrase.These shortcuts allow you to quickly add content like headlines or emphasize certain words or phrases, giving your Google Plus posts a little extra dimension.

7. Share a Post Privately with Someone. Unlike Facebook and Twitter, Google Plus does not have a native private messaging feature.  But, you can send someone a private post simply by adding “+name of contact’  to the individual you want to share your post with in the “Share” box. And, as long as you don’t share to Public, these posts won’t display on your Google Plus profile. Similarly, you can share content with yourself by either adding yourself to an existing circle, or creating a circle only for yourself. It works like sending yourself an email; for example, you can draft a post or take a quick note, share the post only with yourself, then go back later to edit the post and share it with your circles.

Notifications

8.  Turn off Email Notifications. By default, Google will email you all notifications related to your account, whether someone shares a post with you, adds you to a circle, or merely comments after you on a post. To turn off or modify your email notifications, go to Google + Settings. Then, select Google+ from the left navigation and scroll down until you see “Receive Notifications,” where you can uncheck the boxes for the notifications you don’t want to receive. Your email account will thank you – but be sure to check Google Plus frequently to see all your new content and followers.

9. Mute a Specific Post. If you simply want to stop receiving notifications on a certain post, you can mute that thread from your Google Plus feed, so you will no longer see comments related to that post.Under your notifications page, scroll to the post you want to mute. Then, click the arrow to the right of the post and select “Mute this post.”

10. View Notifications in your Chrome Browser. Another great Google Plus extension for Google Chrome is Notification Count. This works especially well if you turn off your Google Plus notification emails. It puts a counter right in your browser next to your search bar, so you can always see how many new notifications you have, no matter what you are doing.  You can visit the Google Chrome Web store for an array of other Google Plus extensions that can help you get more out of using Google Plus a snap for your local business.

Management

11. Manage Multiple Google Plus Accounts. Now that I have both a personal Google Plus account and a corporate Google Plus account, having the ability to toggle between them is a necessity. You can switch between your Google Plus accounts with ease, so you can view and update your personal content and your business content without having to sign out of the other account. To manage your business Google Plus account from your personal account, you’ll see the profile picture and icon for your business page on the top left sidebar of your home page. Select the down arrow and choose your business page icon to manage that account. To switch back, do the same thing and select your personal account.

Manage Google Plus from Your Mobile Device. If you’re not doing so already, make sure to add the Google Plus app to your iPhone, iPad, Android phone, or other Smartphone or tablet. This lets you keep up with all the great content in your Google Plus feed and update your business’ status anytime, even while on the go.

What other Google Plus tricks and shortcuts have you come across that have worked for your local business? What Google Chrome extensions have you found that have improved your Google Plus experience? Feel free to share in a comment!

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Tamara Weintraub

Tamara is a content marketing manager at ReachLocal with over 7 years experience in B2B marketing and has a nerd-level affinity for software and technology. She specializes in helping local businesses succeed online, writing and learning about Google, search advertising, SEO, and social media marketing. When she's not writing about online marketing, you can find her watching cult TV and hanging out with her Doberman.

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